Fact Sheet for the Anne Arundel Stormwater Bill (2-13)

These are not opinions, they are facts, as near as conscientious professionals can convey them.

Read and tell your county councilman what you think.

Stormwater Utility Legislation, Bill 2-13 Information
Purpose – The goal of bill 2-13 is to create a dedicated, local fund to protect revenues generated by a stormwater utility fee and to implement the fee itself. The goal of the fee is to generate sufficient revenues to meet the terms of the County’s MS4 permit (20% impervious retrofit over 5 years) and its TMDL obligations (eventually about $75 million/year in restoration costs).What Does It Do?

  • Creates the protected fund, with a prescribed set of uses.
  • Creates an annual fee on all of the privately owned, developed property in the county.
  • Creates a system of credits/reductions/rebates based on implementation of best management practices.

Defined Uses (Fund can only be used for the following purposes).

  • Capital improvements for stormwater management (including stream and wetland restoration).
  • Operation and maintenance of stormwater management systems and facilities.
  • Public education and outreach relating to stormwater management and restoration.
  • Stormwater management planning
  • Review of stormwater management plans & permits (if revenues from new development are put into the fund).
  • Grants to non-profit organizations for projects meeting the above purposes.
  • Reasonable costs necessary to administer the fund.

Structure of the Annual Fee

  • 3 tiers for residential property: High density, medium density, low density
  • High Density (R15, R10) – Generally, townhouse type development: $34/year.
  • Medium Density (R5, R2) – Generally single family homes: $85/year.
  • Low Density (R1, RLD, RA) – Generally single family homes on large lots: $170/year.
  • All non-residential charged based on actual impervious cover divided by 2,800sf times $85.

Why Residential Tiers?

  • It is both beyond the bounds of the county’s existing technology and logistically unrealistic to assess the individual imperviousness of ever residential property (over 158,000 units).
  • Assessing all properties at a single rate creates large distortions for people at either end of the spectrum (townhouses or estate properties).
  • Creating 3 tiers, based in zoning was deemed to be a reasonable compromise that ties assessment closely to the median imperviousness of each tier (High: ~1,100sf; Med: ~2,800sf; Low: ~5,700sf).

The System of Credits and Reductions

  • Non-residential properties and communities built to post-2002 stormwater management standards AND with proof that their facilities still exist and have been maintained, are eligible for a 50% credit on the fee. This is an opt-in program.
  • Non-residential properties and communities built to pre-2002 stormwater management standards are eligible for credits to their fee based on implementation of best management practices.
  • Holders of industrial discharge permits, in good standing with their permit, are eligible for a 25% reduction in their fee.
  • Residential property owners are eligible to take part in a rebate program, funded by the fee, to defray the cost of implementation of best management practices on their property.

Answers to common concerns that may arise about the fee:

  • The proposed Anne Arundel County fee is directly in line with those existing and proposed by other jurisdictions in the region, including Harford County ($125), Baltimore City ($192), and Montgomery County ($107).
  • The Howard County fee, while proposed, is lower, assumes immediate escalation of the fee in following years. The Anne Arundel County fee is set at a level to be stable for a number of years.
  • The cost of the fee to non-residential properties is proportional to the cost to residential property owners, and based on actual impervious coverage. It is intended to be as equitable as possible.
  • The state of Virginia did NOT refuse to implement a stormwater fee, in fact, the state has enabling legislation that allows local governments to do so, and Charlotteville, VA did so in the last month.
  • The proposed fee structure does affect non-residential and residential property owners proportionately.
  • The average fee for a homeowner will be $85/year. That doesn’t come anywhere close to exceeding the average homeowner’s property tax assessment.

Answers to common concerns over the spending and increase of the fee:

  • The fee cannot be increased without a separate act of the council and is set so that it can be stable for at least 3-4 years.
  • The funds raised through the fee will be used to implement the county’s Watershed Implementation Plan, which is a very detailed document the county has put together over the past several years. Detailed maps and strategies can be found here: http://www.aacounty.org/DPW/Watershed/WIPdocuments.cfm#.UUMut1d8TVQ
  • The legislation requires the creation of a specific, dedicated fund, and the money can only be used for purposes associated with stormwater-related restoration. Unlike the state, the county has a very strong track record of not tapping into these funds for other purposes. This special fund will be like the wastewater/drinking water and solid waste utilities that the county already has.

What Can You Do? – Stormwater Utility

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 50 years. President of Island Resources Foundation.
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